Almanack Contributor Diane Chase

Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: A Cold Fort Ticonderoga

For the first year Fort Ticonderoga is providing a unique experience with “Hot Chocolate at a Cold Fort.” On December 3, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Fort Ticonderoga will have a special opening allowing guests to witness how soldiers celebrated Christmas in 1776.

One way to snap children out of their glassy-eyed “I wants” from the onslaught of daily catalog deliveries is to experience an 18th century Christmas celebration at Fort Ticonderoga.

There will be opportunities to learn of past traditions and the winter hardships of limited resources. Fort Ticonderoga is only open during the winter months on special occasions, so this will be an interesting treat.

Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga Director of Interpretation says, “We hope this event will demonstrate how people were celebrating Christmas in 1776. On a basic level the goal is to show what the solders’ lives were like during the American Revolution to how we celebrate Christmas now.”

“At that time people did not have all the traditions that we have now. I think that true comfort of Christmas at that time and the other saint’s holidays was the camaraderie with the people around them,” says Lilie. “It was enjoying a simple meal that was perhaps better than they were used to. It was something as simple as a nice cut of meat. There was more focus on those around them. The simplicity.”

The event starts with a tour of the historic fort and will make use of re-enactors portraying Colonel Anthony Wayne’s Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion. The English and Dutch Christmas traditions of these Pennsylvania soldiers will be demonstrated. Colonel Wayne’s soldiers will also work around the mess hall to make hot meals for the officers, the sick and to try to find ways to feed the rest of the battalion.

Museum Curator of Collections, Christopher Fox will be on hand for the tour of “The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experience through the Eyes of America’s Great Artists” exhibit. This exhibits brings together 50 of the museum’s most important artworks with works including Thomas Cole’s “Gelyna.”

The fort tour will attempt to tackle such issues as shortage of clothing, medicine and how the long transportation from Albany, at the time, was an overwhelming challenge. Through it all the soldiers manage to make a festive gathering with very little.

Of course there will be a musket demonstration, as those soldiers need practice in case of a winter raid. There will be an opportunity to see how muskets work and learn how they were the main weapons during Colonel Wayne’s command.

So with a bit of history and a fun day at the fort we can witness how the Fort Ticonderoga soldiers appreciated what they had in a cold winter in 1776.

Throughout the weekend there will also be the 2nd annual Ticonderoga North Country Christmas with other children’s activities throughout the weekend.

Photo by Diane Chase.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next book Adirondack Family Time Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga will in stores summer 2012.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Alternatives to Black Friday

Thanksgiving is about tradition. Our family sits down to a huge meal that my mother-in-law cooks while the rest of us try to stay out of her way. She is an amazing force to be reckoned with. We overeat. We rest. We eat more. We attempt a family-against family touch football game to prepare us for leftovers. It all comes down to spending time with each other. We are extremely fortunate.

Every family has their own customs so for those looking for a time-honored ritual; North Country Ballet Ensemble continues a Thanksgiving tradition with performances of The Nutcracker in Plattsburgh on Friday and Saturday (November 25-26) at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. with a 2:00 matinee on Sunday. All performances will be held at the Hartman Theatre, Myers Fine Arts Building at SUNY Plattsburgh. Subsequent performances will be held at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on December 3 at 7:30 p.m. and December 4 at 1:00 p.m.

Just as family-friendly and with a different type of magic, the Adirondack Center for the Arts will open with Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic musical rendition of “Cinderella” in Indian Lake (November 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Indian Lake Theatre) as part of the annual Country Christmas Tour. (Don’t forget about all the events going on in Inlet and Old Forge

Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts Director Stephen Svodboda says, “Our presentation of Cinderella is a classic ‘underdog’ holiday show filled with dancing, singing, and a little bit of magic. This timeless fairy tale is one that is close to the hearts of everyone and, illustrating a true sense of community, the actors in our show come from all over the Adirondacks ranging in age from 4 to 80 years old. The resulting production is an amazing performance that is sure to inspire. We hope you will join us this holiday season!”

To make the “slipper fit” with everyone’s busy schedule, performances of Cinderella run through mid December at various locations around the Central Adirondacks. Admission is $15/$10 members, children 12 and under/$5 accompanied by a parent.

Another substitution for Black Friday madness is the Wild Center Family Day on November 25. Packed with activities from book signings to live music, The Wild Center staff has made sure that you can work off your meal with nature walks and museum activities.

“We are going to have art and nature projects geared toward children but a lot of other activities such as a book signing with Carl Heilman. Children are going to love the maple syrup on snow demonstration, seeing it made and then being able to eat it right here at the Wild Center,” says Josh Pratt, Wild Center Store/Admissions Manager.

I know this barely covers all that is going on for Black Friday. I hope it offers a few choices for some Adirondack fun. Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo: Cinderella (Colleen Pine) surrounded Stepsister (Kierstyn Natter), and Prince Charming (Lucas Greer) of the cast from the Adirondack Lakes Center for Arts production of Cinderella. Photo provided.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recently released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates).


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Christmas in the Central Adirondacks

For my family buying a huge amount of gifts is just not in the budget. We are being selective and trying to make the gift mean something a bit more than just ticking a master list of “I wants.” Part of what we love about living in the Adirondacks is the opportunity to meet artists, make crafts and participate in activities together. I’ve asked my children to think about what they really want to receive and want to give.

For those around the Central Adirondacks Inlet, Indian Lake and Old Forge are celebrating an early Adirondack Christmas. Inlet and Old Forge are once again co-hosting an Adirondack Christmas on Main Street allowing people to walk through the local stores and peruse locally made crafts, meet store owners and truly get in the holiday spirit.

The activities in Old Forge range from horse drawn wagon rides to meeting sled dogs. Perhaps free crafts at The View or seeing reindeer at Walt’s Diner is more to your liking. Throughout the weekend watch an unique performance of the “Cast of Bronze” carillon, a tower of 35 bells played using a keyboard.

On Sunday have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus or join in the Reindeer Run at 1:30 p.m. which starts at the Goodsell Museum (antlers are provided) After the race take a break at the Strand and watch a holiday film (If you wear your antlers get ½ price matinee admission and a free small popcorn.) Well worth wearing antlers.

In Inlet, browse the shops and then stop by the Inlet Town Hall to have gifts wrapped for free. Enjoy a candy cane hunt at Arrowhead Park and a Children’s Holiday Film Festival, dog parade and tree lighting with Santa. Of course, that barely covers all that is offered. Keep in mind there is a shuttle that runs between the Thendara Station and Inlet for those not wanting to drive.

“Made in the Adirondacks” is the theme for the 14th Annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour (CCT), which gives visitors an inside view of the lives and work of more than 45 local and regional artisans and crafters.

Annelies Taylor, Technical Supporter for the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour says, “We give out a map with all the various activities and crafts at the Chamber of Commerce as well as at any of the crafters’ homes. There are over 27 stops with some places hosting more than one artisan.”

According the Taylor each crafter strives to decorate his/her house in a festive manner. Guests are also greeted with hot cider and coffee when welcomed into various locations. People will have the opportunity to see how and where each craft and artwork is made. The Adirondack Center for the Arts will also be presenting Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella at the Indian Lake Theatre.

“There is also a children’s craft on Saturday from 10:00 a.m – 11:30 a.m. where children can have the opportunity to make a gift for someone else,” says Taylor. “Parents can stay or leave their children during that time. There will be someone in attendance during the craft so parents can use the time to do some shopping of their own.”

Adirondack Christmas on Main Street will take place throughout the weekend of November 25-27 in Inlet and Old Forge. The 14th annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour will take place November 25-26 at various times and locations.

Well, with these and more opportunities coming our way, it looks like everyone’s Christmas list can read, “Made in the Adirondacks.” Enjoy the holidays!

photo of Father Christmas used with permission of the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. 


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Underground RR at Pok-O-MacCready

Bounty hunters and escaped slaves may sound like a game for the Wii but this Friday, November 11 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. you can get your children off the couch and into living history. For a fiver, Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center (OEC) in Willsboro’s is welcoming the public to experience what is would be like to be part of the Underground Railroad.

Though the Adirondacks has ties to the Underground Railroad, this particular experience, though historically accurate, is not placed true to the location. According to Stites McDaniel, Director of the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center (OEC) to provide a more in-depth experience participants play the roles of slaves and attempt to avoid bounty hunters as they move from station to station.

“Bounty hunters wouldn’t have necessarily gone this far north,” says McDaniel. “It would have been more likely the common citizen turning in a runaway for the reward. We had to take a bit of creative license in order for the participants to get, what we felt, would be the entire experience from escape to freedom. There was still the danger throughout the Underground Railroad network as the slaves were shuttled north.”

Participants will play the roles of escaped slaves while staff and volunteers play the roles of bounty hunters, abolitionists and marshals. McDaniel encourages people to come with questions as the event always closes with a discussion. He asks that people take a moment to truly suspend belief and immerse themselves in the experience.

“We run this program with high school and lower middle school students,” says McDaniel. “We have had children as young as seven and are able to cater to the age of the participant. We do not over glamorize. We want families with younger children to feel included.”

This community event is a partnership with the 1812 Homestead, where the event takes place. According to McDaniel the “escaped slaves” will move to each station where there will be an historic discovery during the re-enactment. When a group is participating in a learning station they are off limits to the bounty hunters. As the group moves from station to station they are then running from bounty hunters or may be fortunate to find an abolitionist.

McDaniel says, “We try to incorporate as much historical reference as possible. People may meet a traveling abolitionist named Lucretia Mott. There will also be someone acting as a member of local Keese family. The whole re-enactment is about two hours. Within that timeframe participants will be doing their own learning. We do end with a debriefing. We don’t end the activity without a discussion.”

Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center (OEC) in Willsboro, a not-for-profit organization comprised of 300 acres, focuses on an outdoor educational experience. The waterfront facilities provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and fishing while the property utilizes onsite skiing, mountain biking and nature trails. Catering primarily to school and youth groups, the Pok-O-MacCready OEC continues to add community events to their roster based on their popular school events.

photo of Underground Railroad re-enactment at Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center used with permission.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: 4 Adirondack Ski Swaps

* Please note the correct time for drop off to McCauley Mountain Ski Swap is Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.! 

Being an active family, my kids seems to outgrown their sporting gear before I’ve finished tying up the laces. For other parents looking to outfit their children for the winter ski season, a ski swap is a nice starting place. A ski swap can also be a much-needed opportunity to clean house.

Generally the ski swaps are consignments where you drop off your gear, helmets, and winter clothing a day before the event. If the gear sells then you will receive 80% of the set sale price. Usually the funds generated benefit a special organization like ski clubs or ski patrols so the 20% commission goes to support the sport. It is best to ask what each ski swap’s arrangement is, as it varies with location. Keep in mind no “collector’s items” like wooden skis and only clothing in good condition. Ski Club Swaps

Lake Placid: November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon
In Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Ski Club/NYSEF Ski Swap is asking for any winter gear from cross-country skis, boots, roller blades, helmets as well as current downhill ski equipment. Any winter clothing in good shape will be accepted. For questions please call Lake Placid Ski Club President Carol Hoffman at 524-6914. This is the first year that Lake Placid Ski Club and NYSEF are doing a combined Ski and Skate Swap at St. Agnes Gym in Lake Placid. 80/20 split, no rear entry boots or straight skis and no gear donations. Drop off equipment to consign on November 4 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Queensbury, November 5 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
November 6, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
This annual event at West Mountain is touted as one of the largest ski swaps in the area. Drop off for consignments is Friday (11/4) from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday (11/5) from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.. They are accepting any new and pre-owned ski or snowboard gear. No straight skis or rear entry boots. They are looking for any outerwear and accessories as well as skis, boots, helmets and snowboards. Proceeds benefit the West Mountain Ski Patrol and Race Team.

Old Forge, November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon
This annual Polar Bear Ski Club Ski Swap at McCauley Mountain will be the place to find deals on new/used ski and snowboard equipment. Drop off is Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday between 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. They are looking for any winter sporting gear and winter clothing in good condition. This event is not restricted to ski or snowboards but will accept helmets, ice skates, hockey equipment and cross-country ski gear. This event will benefit the Polar Bear Ski Club, which sponsors ski races for youth in cross-country skiing, downhill and biathlon.

Speculator, November 19, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
This is a new event for Oak Mountain and a bit different from the traditional ski swap. For a $20 “table” free (if reserved by the 16th or $25 after the 16th) the consignor can sell anything from boats, ATVs, snowmobiles as well as skis, gear and sport clothing. The only requirement is that it has to be sporting goods. The table fee will benefit the Friends of Oak Mountain, which continues to support upgrades to Oak Mountain. There will also be refreshments for sale.

I hope you find whatever you are looking for.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Family Activities: Easy Mountain Biking Trails for Kids

Matt McNamara, Founder and Chairman of the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA), has some great ideas for easy places to mountain bike. McNamara recommends that young mountain bikers start with simple trails such as the Hardy Road trail system in Wilmington. He recommends this coniferous trail because for the most part the trail is smooth with no significant climbing.

“In the Adirondacks it may be difficult for people to know where to start to begin mountain biking with children,” says McNamara. “It is always about having fun and finding your comfort level.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: A Mystical Forest in Burke

Located in the foothills of the Adirondacks, The Ekurb Players are pulling together the last minute details for their annual Mystical Forest at Sellers Park in Burke, N.Y.

Formed in 2007, The Ekrub Players (Ekrub is Burke spelled backwards) is a not-for-profit Children’s performance group focusing on creative ways to bring families together and get children outside. The Mystical Forest event is one of the first programs the group started when it opened its doors in 2007.

Co-Founder and President Gina Strachan says, “A lot of our inspiration comes from Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods. My husband and I moved from Vermont and found out that there weren’t a lot of child-related activities in the area. We are developing other children’s programs so check out the website. My family had participated in a variety of productions in other places as well in Vermont.”

The Mystical Forest will take place at Sellers Park in Burke. Over 500 carved pumpkins will light the trails as costumed “Spirit Guides” lead groups of up to 20 people through the woods. A tour leaves every 10 minutes and every tour lasts about an hour.

“This is not a gory, horror trail,” assures Strachan. “This is a story trail. People will be led through the forest for an hour tour to various skits led by costumed volunteers. We even received the rights from J K Rowling to do a Harry Potter skit based on The Tale of the Three Brothers. Snow White, Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood are a few of the other familiar characters families can look forward to seeing.”

According to Strachan a special addition is the group The Tales from Remikreh, sword -fighting re-enactors, that have performed in Alexandria Bay for the past 16 years. She recommends that people dress for a walk in the woods and appropriately for the weather. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and children under 5 are free.

There will be food available for purchase such as hamburgers and hotdogs, drinks as well as a sweet treat vendor. The tour schedule is as follows: Friday, October 21 from 6;30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Saturday, October 22 from 6:30 -.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 23 from noon to 3:30 p.m. No reservations are required. If you bring a canned good to benefit the local food pantry you can save $1 on admission. There is plenty of parking available.

Sellers Park is located on Route 11 in Burke. Strachan recommends you “just follow the ghost signs along Route 11 and you won’t miss it.”

Photo: The Ekrub Players’ Mystical Forest Ghost (Courtesy Diane Chase)

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take A Crown Point Historic Schooner Tour

This weekend the historic wooden schooner, Lois McClure will make her last stop for the season at another historic location, Crown Point Pier, located on the water just below the Champlain Lighthouse. Those visitors of history; rejoice, lovers of ships; unite and budget watchers; celebrate. This tour is free.

Part of the Farm, Forestry and Fishery Tour, the 88′ schooner Lois McClure and Urger tugboat will offer free tours from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 on October 15-16 at the Crown Point Pier. This tour has been raising awareness of the importance of “sustainable agriculture, responsbile foresty and clean, healthy waterways.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Oktober Pet Fest in Long Lake

This Saturday, October 8, two fall festivals have combined forces for what is shaping up to be a fun family event. The Long Lake Harvest Fest and The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts Pet Fest will be held at the ball field in Long Lake from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m..

“We have been working with the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts to make this an event for everyone,” says Long Lake Event Coordinator Denise Gagnier. “It is the third year for the Pet Fest and we wanted to work with our neighbors at The Center to provide an active event for the Columbus weekend.”

According to Gagnier, the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest will host a variety of unique activities geared toward pet owners. There will be a pet agility course with everything from seesaw to hurdles. Owners can register their pets for a maze and the pet show. Prizes will be awarded for Best Pet Trick, Most Unique Pet, Look Like Your Pet and Best Stuffed Pet.

The stuffed pet can be anything from toy to taxidermy. Don’t worry there is plenty to do in addition to the pet activities. One unusual event will be the “Punkin’ Chunkin’. In years past the Harvest Fest held a pumpkin drop but this year “pumpkins will be flying.”

“We have made the event, in many ways, like a carnival,” says Alexandra Verner Roalsvig, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Long Lake. “There are various activities that will require a $1 ticket. Other events are free. The Punkin Chunkin is new this year. We are asking that people design their own catapult and we provide the pumpkins. That activity is free and we are hoping to see some real originally being shown while participants see who can launch their pumpkin the farthest.”

There are rules for the Punkin’ Chunkin‘ Each participant will receive three pumpkins with a misfire being treated as a foul. Each pumpkin will weigh approximately 8-10 lbs. so plan accordingly. No cannons, ignitables or explosives, if that is where your mind is running. Eye protection and hard hat is provided.

Roalsvig is hoping the combined festivals will appeal to visitors and local residents. By keeping the ticket price for various activities at the one-dollar mark, people can pick and choose where to spend their money.

“The Kids’ Zone is going to have Magician Bob Shelley, pumpkin painting, bounce house and T-shirt painting. Each activity will require a ticket but it will be well worth the price,” says Roalsvig.

“The craft fair will be held under the tent and that is free. This year we invited the Long Lake Artisans to be part of the craft fair,” says Roalsvig. “We have wonderful handmade crafts like fishing flies, table runners, Christmas decorations, rustic furniture, fabric arts and a variety of candles. We insist that the products are homemade crafts. Boat builder Bunny Austin just refurbished a guideboat and will have it on display. It has an historic reference so people are encouraged to stop and talk to him about the guideboat and its story.”

Traditional German fare as well as maple cotton candy, Kettle Corn, gourmet desserts and a Saranac Root Beer tasting can be enjoyed while listening to the acoustic music of Adam Reynolds and John Hill.

Parking for the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest can be found at the St. Henry’s Parking Long and the Long Lake Central School Parking Lot off Route 30. Call 518-624-3077 for additional information.

Photo: Chandler Seaman with his Prized Pumpkin at Harvest Fest in Long Lake. (Photo provided).

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Goodsell Museum’s Floating Letters Exhibit

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™

Through the end of October, the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge will continue its tribute to the region’s unusual means of receiving mail. The exhibit entitled, “Floating Letters, A Tribute to the Mailboats and Their Crews” will end October 31, 2011.

Director Gail Murray says, “We talked over different ideas and first thought of including all commerce but quickly realized the topic was too large. We focused on the mailboats to discover it is the 110 -year anniversary”

According to Murray there were mailboats on Twitchell Lake, Silver Lake and Rondaxe and boats still delivering mail on Big Moose Lake and Fulton Chain. Murray wanted the exhibit to tie in the tradition of the residents receiving mail by water with summer fun as children and grandchildren still anxiously wait for the mail to arrive by boat.

“The Fulton Chain mailboat is currently run by Old Forge Lake Cruises and holds about 20 people,” say Murray. “I believe it is one of the only mailboats that is allowed passengers. With delivering the mail the tour is able to get up close to the historic camps and homes from Old Forge to Fourth Lake. Our next exhibit will focus on early medicine in the area and will open right after Thanksgiving, ”

The mailboat exhibit celebrated the 110 -year anniversary of the Old Forge mail boat delivery system. Originally the only means to receive mail, the boat service began in 1901 due to the influence of President Benjamin Harrison and Dr. William Seward Webb. Harrison had purchased 10 acres of land from Webb and built Berkeley Lodge on Second Lake.

Using a boat to provide mail service is not unusual for the US Postal Service. In rural communities they continue to use anything from snowmobiles to mule train.

At the Goodsell Museum children are encouraged to mix and mingle throughout the various exhibits. On the ground floor there are glass cases of taxidermy animals but a pack basket set to the side is marked with a yellow circle, handprint and “OK.” Children know anything marked with that symbol is fair game. My children examine all the animal pelts gingerly and even try on a few fox collars. Upstairs they examine some medical equipment in a different “please touch box.”

The Goodsell Museum is free to the public and open all year. Visit the Floating Letters exhibit until October 31st or enjoy the other items that provide an historical blueprint of the Town of Webb. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Free Museum Day Saturday

Each year Smithsonian Magazine teams with museums around the country to host its seventh annual Museum Day, allowing everyone to enter special organizations that cater from everything from the history of the Adirondacks to the Olympics.

Free admission is only available for those that sign online and download the ticket form. The ticket is good for two people per mailing address and valid email.

For our family it isn’t a matter of participating in Museum Day but which museum to attend. My son wants to venture far afield and go aboard the USS Slater. Unfortunately that particular adventure will have to be timed with a trip to Albany. Since we will be attending Indian Lake’s Great Adirondack Moose Festival, a trip to the Adirondack Museum will fit right into the plan.

Once again the Adirondack Museum will offer anyone signed on for a Museum Day ticket the right to enter its doors free of charge. (New for 2011, year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are admitted free every Sunday during the Adirondack Museum’s season as well as any open days in October.)

The Adirondack Museum houses twenty buildings on 32 acres of land, beautiful gardens and ponds. There are many interactive elements like the Rising Schoolhouse filled with paper crafts and era-specific wooden toys, a treasure hunt in the “Age of Horses” building, or explore “The Great Outdoors.” Keep in mind all paid admissions are valid for a second visit within a one-week time period.

Another museum offering a free pass is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. This nod to Lake Placid’s Winter Olympic history offers great insight into the magnitude the Olympics played on the growth of Lake Placid in the Olympic arena. Guests can view an array of Olympic torches, an evolution of sporting equipment and a special video documenting the 1980 historic USA hockey gold medal win.

There are more museums just beyond the Blue Line that are participating as well. Take this opportunity and explore new areas or old favorites this Saturday, September 24th.

(Even though museums are generously offering a free day to all keep in mind it still costs money to run these wonderful establishments. A small donation can go a long way to help continue to provide these excellent facilities.)

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Moose on the Loose in Indian Lake

There are so many festivals in the autumn that it is easy to be overwhelmed with the various opportunities. One reason that I do favor these annual events for my family is the variety of activities at each festival. As my children get older they want to have more input in the activities that we do. We find a festival offers a little bit of everything for my family of four. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Teddy Roosevelt Weekend in Newcomb

Teddy Roosevelt Weekend will take place September 10-11, 2011 throughout the township of Newcomb. There will be all the standard fare expected from an Adirondack festival: special food, bake sales and silent auctions. The town of Newcomb has joined together to host a full weekend of activity.

The 15th annual Adirondack Craft Fair will be held at the Newcomb Central School with artisans showcasing their goods from homemade quilts to hand-knitted items. In addition to that will be the chance to explore the area of Newcomb with Teddy Roosevelt (TR).

There will be wagon rides taking place at Great Camp Santanoni with a Great Lodge Open House. Keep in mind that you can walk or bike the 4.7 miles into the camp if you decide not to take the wagon ride. There is also a mini-museum in the Gate House. Teddy Roosevelt was a frequent visitor at this camp owned by the Pruyn family.

There will be float plane rides available but active folks may want to opt for the Goodnow Mountain Interpretation with SUNY-ESF Forester Mike Gooden. Gooden will be available from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Goodnow Fire tower on Saturday, September 10th. The two-mile trail is only 2,685′ but it’s the 60′ fire tower and beautiful views of the Santanoni and Seward Ranges that make it worth the walk.

Newcomb’s ties to Theodore Roosevelt are unique in that in September 1901 Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States while taking a stagecoach through the township of Newcomb. While in a receiving line during the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, President McKinley was shot twice by Leon Czolgosz. McKinley lingered for a week but died when the bullet wounds became infected with gangrene. The Roosevelt Monument on Route 28N is located at the approximate site that Roosevelt learned he became President.

So this weekend TR will even make a showing along with Adirondack Interpretive Center’s Program Coordinator Paul Hai during an historical tour of the Adirondac Ghost Town and Iron Works Blast Furnace. According to Town Supervisor George Canon, Hai has been instrumental in gathering former residents of Adirondac together to tell their stories of living in this historic town.

“We started Teddy Roosevelt Weekend in 2001 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous ride from Mt Marcy to North Creek,” says Canon. “With the actual time of McKinley’s death we estimate that Roosevelt was right in the township of Newcomb when he became President. We take credit that he was in our community when that took place.”

So besides a bit of history, this weekend can offer some outings whether at Santanoni, Goodnow Mt. or along the Adirondack Interpretive Center’s trails.


Photo of the Teddy Roosevelt Weekend Brochure used with permission of the Town of Newcomb

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities including short hikes, swimming holes, historic sites, events, activities and trivia. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Diane Chase: Hurricane Irene High Peaks Closures

It is difficult to believe that a week ago my husband led two different groups over Marcy Dam bridge to climb into the Adirondack High Peaks backcountry. I joined him on a day hike up Marcy and lingered on the bridge to admire the view of Mt. Colden. Now the iconic bridge has been washed away by residual flooding from Hurricane Irene.

With this backlash from Hurricane Irene Adirondack campgrounds are closed and extensive damage continues to be assessed throughout the High Peaks, Catskills and lower regions of the Adirondack Park.



DEC Region 5 Citizen Participation Specialist David Winchell says, “We closed down the trail systems for the Eastern High Peaks, Giant, and Dix Mountain Wilderness regions and continue to evaluate other areas. We want people to understand that by willingly entering the forest preserve hikers may encounter massive blow-down, washed out foot bridges, and landslides.”

Winchell states that the first bridge on the Klondike trail is gone, the Duck Hole Dam has been breached and the trails along the shoreline at Lake Colden are under water. He admits that at this time the number of new slides are too numerous to count. He does list new slides at Wright, Colden-north, Trap Dike, Haystack, Wolfjaws, Dixes and Giant.

“When hikers encounter a bad situation we encourage people to turn around and not press on over treacherous terrain, says Witchell. “We don’t want to be searching for additional people. Our focus is on helping the communities and existing stranded hikers and backcountry campers.”

According to Winchell, the Western and Central Adirondacks have not been as severely impacted by ramifications of Hurricane Irene. Trail closure and campground information will be updated and posted on the DEC trail website.

Marcy Dam bridge has been a landing point for many backcountry hikers as well as a day hike destination for those just wanting an easy 2.4 mile walk from the Adirondack Loj. Phil Brown of The Adirondack Explorer, filed an extensive High Peaks area damage report, places to hike and pictures of the missing bridge.

Remember the first rule of thumb when venturing into the backcountry is safety. There is so much damage around the towns of Jay, Keene, Keene Valley and AuSable that emergency personnel is needed to pursue the necessary clean-up to aid those communities while the DEC continues to do what is necessary to be able to open Adirondack trails for all.

For those wishing to enjoy a family-friendly wilderness experience there are many smaller hikes not part of the Eastern Adirondack High Peaks that are open.

Photo of Marcy Dam bridge used with permission of Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities including short hikes, swimming holes, historic sites, events, activities and trivia. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Donnelly’s Ice Cream

A choice is something we (as Americans) are used to getting but with Donnelly’s Ice Cream the one thing you don’t get to decide is the flavor of the day. As the Donnelly’s motto attests, “Please pick a size, the flavor has already been decided.”

Over the years that we’ve lived in the Adirondack Park, Donnelly’s Homemade Ice Cream has been the only reason some groups we’ve led hiking in the High Peaks have made it down the mountain. A beacon to many a hiker, Donnelly’s Homemade Ice Cream is a social place as well as ice cream pit-stop at the four corners of Route 86 and 186, commonly known as Donnelly’s Corners, just minutes from Saranac Lake. It doesn’t seem to matter how weary we are on a hike off the mountain we can always manage to muster the energy for a cone of the flavor of the day. » Continue Reading.


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